The Smash Bros. community is unlike any other.
The series hosts the largest crossover game ever to be conceived, with a roster full of characters hand-picked from numerous beloved franchises.
Naturally, this has pulled fans from each of these franchises in, leaving the Smash Bros. community filled with a diverse fan-base of players drawn from a copiously large array of titles. From Mario to Metal Gear, and Fire Emblem to Pac-Man, Smash Bros. draws in so many different characters, and consequently, their fans, some of which have a knack for creating false rumors and leaks to stir some chaos.
With every new Smash game comes a wave of outlandish (yet somehow plausible) leaks, theories and general predictions on which new characters will be introduced into the Smash roster of fighters.
And boy have there been some predictions.
So join me, as we dive head-first into the deep depths of the Smash Bros. community as we observe some of the most bizarre yet brilliant smash ?leaks? both past and present.
Welcome, to the crazy world of Fake Smash Bros. Leaks.
Game: Super Smash Bros. Melee
To start with, let?s travel back to the days of Melee. Much like how in the original Pokmon games it was rumored that Mew could be found and caught when looking under a truck, many Melee players believed that Sonic the Hedgehog (not introduced into the franchise yet at the time), Tails and Toad could be unlocked as fighters through secret methods.
As rumored by the Electronic Gaming Magazine as an April Fool?s joke, Sonic and Tails apparently appeared upon defeating 20 enemies in ?Cruel Mode? where players must defeat the two in a one-against-two battle to unlock them as playable fighters. The magazine also mentioned that completing Classic Mode as Sonic or Tails would reward the player with a ?special surprise?. The magazine, after heavy public scrutiny, later held a contest where players who got 20 or more KOs in Cruel Mode could send in video proof to receive a free copy of ?Sonic Adventure 2?.
The Electronic Gaming Magazine April Fools joke
A post on a small Geocities site claimed that Toad could be unlocked via reaching a perfect score in the credits mini-game. After achieving this feat, the player would allegedly have to clear Adventure Mode and defeat the Yoshis in the Mushroom Kingdom stage, thus unlocking the fighter. This method was given validity by a fake screenshot of Toad fighting Mewtwo, thus implying that Toad could indeed be unlocked.
This theory was debunked due to Toad?s placement on the roster screen breaking the trend of all fighters from the same series being placed together, and also because it was noticed that the screenshots were simply recycled pictures of toad standing and walking around in the Mushroom Kingdom in the game?s Adventure Mode.
To this day we have not seen Tails or Toad actually become a playable fighter in a Smash game despite their fair share of cameos.
2. Plants, Chairs and Pillows
Game: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
During the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct on the 8th of August, 2018, the Smash Bros. Director, Masahiro Sakurai, was shown talking about the game in a room with some suspiciously chosen plants, chairs and pillows.
To many people this went unnoticed. But to those crazy enough, it was a possible hint at an upcoming fighter: Skull Kid, the antagonist of The Legend of Zelda: Majora?s Mask.
Unfortunately, this never eventuated into Skull Kid?s roster induction. If it did, however, it might just have been one of the most creative and sneaky character reveals yet.
3. Artists of Deceit
With a community as large and diverse as this one, there?s bound to be artistically talented individuals capable of replicating the Smash art style. Thus, a new wave of fake leaks were born.
Game: Super Smash Bros. 4
On the 14th of February, 2015, pictures of Ubisoft?s ?Rayman? character in the Super Smash Bros. 4 art style started appearing on 4chan by an anonymous user. These pictures included Rayman?s complete Smash render, character select screen icon and character unlock splash art. Several hours passed, and a video surfaced of Rayman being selected in the character select screen of SSB4. This was soon after taken down by the original user, but a re-upload of this video can be found below. Additionally, some similar-looking 3DS screenshots surfaced a while later.
Rayman Leak (Original Footage) ? Credit: uebo7
At this stage, this leak had garnered a lot of credibility, due to the attention to detail in the video and screenshots, and because it aligned with various previous leaks and official announcements. For example, Mewtwo had just been announced as a DLC fighter, and because the video featured Mewtwo also in the select screen with a never-before-seen render it was rather difficult to argue that this leak could actually be real! But alas, it was. A day later a Youtuber called Artsy Omni revealed that he had created this fake as a promotional stunt for his new web series, Smashified.
The Creation of the Rayman ?Leak? ? Credit: Smashified
This series features the artist creating renders of various video game characters in the style of Smash Bros. Strangely enough, however, the 3DS screenshots were not created by Artsy Omni, but rather a mysterious third party who remains anonymous to this day.
The Mysterious 3DS Screenshot ? Credit: Super Smash Bros. Wiki
Skull Kid vs. Bandana Waddle Dee on Pok Floats
Game: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
In September 2018 a photo of a display showed two heavily-speculated characters, Skull Kid (from The Legend of Zelda) and Bandana Waddle Dee (from Kirby), fighting on a never-before-seen new version of the classic ?Pok Floats? stage from Smash Bros. Melee.
At first many believed this leak to be legitimate, but after the image reached its peak virality it was noticed that the blue star next to Bandana Dee?s character portrait at the bottom of the screen wasn?t how it was displayed in other official footage from E3 and Nintendo Directs.
Sure, each character from the Kirby series in the official gameplay had a similar-looking star symbol above their name. However, in the official footage this star was slightly slanted, whereas in this leak the star is positioned straight.
As of the time of writing this article, these two fighters and this stage have not be featured in Smash Ultimate, however the possibility (while quite slim) for these to be included as DLC remains.
The thing I find most interesting about this fake leak is that the artist not only made two fake fighter models for Skull Kid and Bandana Dee, but also went out of their way to create a fake screenshot of an entirely new map from scratch! A valiant effort, I must admit.
4chan Character Renders
On the 30th of August, 2018, an anonymous 4chan user posted an image of 7 character portrait screenshots of characters not yet announced for the game. These characters included Agns (from Square Enix?s Bravely Default), the Chorus Kids (from Rhythm Heaven), Isaac (from Golden Sun), Ken (from Street Fighter), Isabelle (from Animal Crossing), Shadow the Hedgehog (from the Sonic series) and Skull Kid (from The Legend of Zelda series). This leak later circulated through Twitter with the additional of a fake render of Lloyd Irving (from Tales of Symphonia) (the enlarged portrait on the bottom right).
On the 1st of September the leaker (an artist by the name of Pepy) revealed that the image was fake on Twitter, but also explained that the addition of Lloyd Irving was not his doing. The creator of the leak also apologised for angering anybody over the fake leak and also published the full renders to the public.
The Full Character Renders ? Credit: PepyThe Full Character Renders (cont.) ? Credit: Pepy
The Ultimate Banner Unveiled
Game: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
On the 24th of October, a screenshot of a SnapChat (presumably sent from someone working on the game?s art to someone they know) rapidly spread across the internet before quickly being deleted by the original user. The image featured what appeared to be the final, completed version of the Smash Ultimate banner art, of which we had already been shown a few (unfinished) versions by Nintendo themselves.
The caption (as seen on the right) roughly translates to ?F*ck Nintendo LOL?. ?MDR? in French is short for ?mort de rire?, which means ?dying of laughter,? ? basically the French equivalent to ?LOL?.
The banner features all of the characters confirmed to be in the game up until the time of this leak?s circulation with the addition of a handful of supposedly yet to be revealed fighters. These included: (again) Ken, Shadow, Isaac and the Chorus Kids, and also Banjo and Kazooie (from Banjo-Kazooie), Geno (from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars), KOS-MOS (from Xenosaga Episode 1) and Mach Rider (from Mach Rider).
This leak also proved very difficult to discredit, as (just like the Rayman and 4chan character leaks) the renders of the characters used in the ?leaks? were original art created by anonymous artists, and were not evidently torn and stolen from somewhere and reused (which was how the Toad Melee rumor was debunked).
Some later began to notice small inconsistencies regarding the rearrangement and placement of some characters where other characters used to be in the previous versions of the poster that Nintendo distributed. Others, however, were certain that this had to be legitimate, and as there were no other clues or hard evidence to disprove it, thus, many went into the final Ultimate Direct expecting these eight characters to be revealed.
The final Direct, however, did not reveal any of these characters except for Ken, who was unveiled along side the Generation 7 fire starter Pokmon, Incineroar.
The original publisher of the fake leak never came forward and admitted to the falsehood of these images, thus this leak remained (fairly) credible until the very last possible moment.
Wow. I knew there?d be a lot of these, but there?s somehow even more than I expected. I?ll save the rest for another article (or two) some day down the road.
But for now, let?s get out of this wormhole and call it a day before I get lost in this well of endless research and never make it out again.
To Be Continued?